Welsh public service workers will hold all local election candidates to account in May’s council elections, general secretary Dave Prentis declared when he helped launch UNISON Cymru/Wales’s 2017 local government manifesto in Cardiff today.
“Strong local government services are the beating heart of healthy communities,” the document states.
“Investing in the services is not a choice. They are integral to the economic, social and environmental health of our communities in Wales and must not be cut.”
Listing some of the range of services local government provides, the manifesto says: “All these services and more are essential tools in our armoury against inequality, poverty and ill-health.”
Mr Prentis joined more than 100 members, inluding carers, caretakers and refuse collectors to launch the manifesto outside Cardiff Central Library.
Calling for “a new era of investment ” in services, he said: “Spending cuts forced by the Westminster government have run down local services and damaged communities – and Welsh people have had enough.”
He called for investment and the stronger communities it builds to be the priority for all political parties in the elections in all Welsh local authorities on 4 May.
“There must be no more cutting back on bus services, refuse collections and social workers who keep children safe, no more closing libraries and community centres, and no more paying carers looking after the elderly and vulnerable bargain basement wages,” said Mr Prentis.
“Public service workers across Wales will be holding all local election candidates to account. They must prove they’re committed to putting people first.”
The union is asking existing and prospective councillors to say no to outsourcing and no to spending public money on private consultants, who then advise councils to make cuts.
UNISON also wants candidates to ensure staff providing local government services are paid at least the living wage of £8.45 an hour.